A Table of Contents - Dorthea Tanning

Current favorites  from Dorthea Tanning's first book of poems, A Table of Contents, published in 2004. 

He told us, with the years, you will come
To love the world.
And we sat there with our souls in our laps,
And comforted them.


Blackwidow and bluedaughter will precede a bronze fortune. Wait ninety-one dawns.

Try aulic apples and eco-similies when up a tree. On the next moon's round you will hear a new note.

A fixed star burns the edges of frayed identity. Look underground for knockout denouement.

Swarming doubt surrounds your final forfeit. Your aura is now in orbit. Wear its disguise.

Learn the Erynnian language of thorns. Make a pact with chaos. From then on you won't care.

The faces in the mirror have learned to talk. If you listen they will slash your past ignite your future.

In ten days your eyes will see a glaive. Take it as a sign of promise. Your beauty will explode.

Mix wine with semen and ectoplasm. Throw it out. You shall be richly rewarded.

Wild rapture spins over your personal landscape.  Do not hold your breath in the fire. This sign is bliss.

Entrance to Hell demands grit. After nine days in the ashes you will be walking on air.

Go mad and and you will not become truly insane. Tomorrow you will be chosen.


you ride the night machine
witlessly in bedlam,
breathing on my scree,
my panting outdoor movie,
its paid admission being
my square root,
my flashbulb
socket-pinned and joyless.

Insomnia, my cousin,
you have sired nightly
indecent vertigo.
I lie haggard as you drag
your insane engine past 
across the floor,
slamming doors
on all my four dimensions,

leaving me high day
to shred the clotted dream.
Cousin, I repeatedly
betray you with its debris.

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